Picking up a cookbook and reading through it is just such a fun thing for me to do. When I picked up Everyday Cooking by Vicki Bentley, I felt like I was reading recipes my mom would have written down and tidbits of information from grandma. What a wonderful treat this book from Everyday Homemaking is.
Vicki Bentley is a mom who understands quality – in love (just read her blog!), in family, in food, in instruction. From picking out recipes that feature healthy foods to ones that are inexpensive to make, this is a cookbook that can be shared or given as gifts, knowing you are giving them a useable cookbook. So many cookbooks out there, while they cover interesting and yummy sounding dishes, are just not practical, whether it be due to cost of ingredients or time required in the kitchen. Everyday Homemaking provides a cookbook that gives you both – ingredients you can afford and probably already having most of in your kitchen AND recipes that do not require an overwhelming amount of time to prepare so we can get on with the real tasks – loving our family.
An important feature of Everyday Cooking is that it provides instructions that are so clear and so easy to do that the children can easily help in the kitchen. All of my girls have used this cookbook to assist with food preparation over the past few weeks. Only once did I have to clarify anything and it was a term that you learn by doing (I think it was mince).
A feature of the book that I am excited to begin using in full is the list of dishes for the girls to learn. Included in Everyday Cooking is a short unit on cooking and it looks wonderful. Using it, plus all of the other tips, instruction, and materials other than the recipes, (and a tad bit of work on my part to plan and document) it will serve as a foundation for a home economics credit when they hit high school.
Some of the other materials included in the book are basic shopping lists, how to menu plan and a sample or two of how to do that, descriptions of basic kitchen accessories and equipment. There is a special section for low-carb and gluten-free helps, as well as a section for cooking with an electric pressure cooker. (This is where I learned that the Instant Pot is just a pressure cooker! My mind was shocked!)
Now, while all this other stuff is wonderful and helpful and quite a benefit, the real depth of Everyday Cooking is its recipes. Categories in the cookbook are:
- breakfast ideas
- appetizers and dressings
- bread and grains
- main dishes & soups & sides
- desserts & snacks
- low-carb and gluten-free helps/substitutions
- pressure cooker (tips and recipes)
The only thing I think would have made this easier to use would be to cross reference some of the substitution recipes. For example, when the CreamOSoup recipe is needed as an ingredient for another recipe, it would be nice to have the page number for CreamOSoup listed in that recipe. I have gone through my book and cross referenced those I found easily so that when I am using a recipe, that is one less thing I will need to locate.
Over the past few weeks, we have pulled this cookbook out a number of time and used many recipes. One of the first we used was Spiced Apples. Miss J did this recipe and we enjoyed it tremendously as it was very similar to a recipe we were already making.
We made her brownie recipe and Hawaiian Chicken for pot luck with our church. The Hawaiian Chicken did not work out so well for us, as we avoid flour in main dishes (I am allergic to wheat), and I subbed coconut flour in the CreamOSoup part of the recipe. It did not thicken well and when it cooled, the coconut flour got grainy. I will be playing with that CreamOSoup recipe to see what we can do with it without using flour. There are plenty of options; I just need to find the right one. The flavor of the Hawaiian Chicken was good, though! We definitely will try it again.
The brownies were very different tasting than our norm but they turned out good. They were easy to prepare and they were enjoyed.
Other recipes we tried included the Chicken Broccoli Braid, pancakes, skillet chicken recipes, potato soup, and more. I have several others that I would like to try.
We also braved the Eggplant Lasagna, without the pressure cooker. Turned out lovely. We did not use the recipe for the sauce in the book because it is almost exactly like we do it from scratch without a written recipe. And that really sums up what appeals to me about this book – so many of the recipes are extremely similar to what I learned growing up and have been teaching my daughters.
Learning to cook to taste and from scratch – that is what Everyday Cooking by Vicki Bentley is about. Visit her website Everyday Homemaking plenty of tips, ideas, and other recipes. She also offers The Everyday Family Chore System for families, as yet another tool to help your home run smoothly and efficiently. Some of the Crew members were using this program so don’t miss their reviews.
Interested? Mrs. Bentley is offering a coupon code for my readers to use to get 10% off the purchase of The Everyday Family Chore System and/or Everyday Cooking (print or e-book) through Labor Day! The code is TOS10books — apply it to as many books in your cart as you would like, but you do need to shop first and apply the 10% discount code last due to what Mrs. Bentley described as “eccentric cart functions.” Expires Sept 5, 2017. This cookbook would make some good Christmas presents!